The new dilemma: Dhoni or Dinesh?
A knock which was primeval, yet breathtaking, from Dhoni wrested the third one-dayer from Sri Lanka's grasp
on Monday. Sri Lanka set India 299 to win but had to be content with watching a one-man show as Dhoni belted 183, over 61% of India's target. It was the joint sixth highest of all-time
, the highest by a keeper, the best in a chase and the joint second highest by an Indian. His ten sixes were the second best in a one-dayer and the game even had, to date, the only instance of two keepers scoring centuries in the same game
. Sangakkara must have wondered what more he needed to do to improve his team's showing. With four more games to go, the next one at Pune happens tomorrow, Sri Lanka have absolutely no time. Having lost the first two
, if they lose tomorrow, the series is lost.
Strangely though, for a team which has looked almost in total control in the three games this series, India's preparations for tomorrow's game were thrown into a tizzy amidst rumours that Sachin Tendulkar would be rested
in order to protect his elbow. I hope this won't happen, because it is just the kind of break Sri Lanka would need, and make full use of, to get back into the series.
The Indian selectors now also have a lot of thinking to do, for the test matches against Sri Lanka which start a month later. Should they pick Dhoni for the tests given that Sri Lanka have already been scarred by him? Should they stick with the nominee for emerging player of the year
, Dinesh Karthik?
Mind you, it would be a very tough decision to take. Karthik's keeping has been quite impeccable and his batting
helped India defeat Pakistan at Calcutta earlier this year. While he did play a few breezy knocks in the Challenger Trophy
, he didn't produce the real big innings in the two Duleep Trophy games he played last month. Dhoni therefore has a distinct advantage, in that aside from Monday's blitz, he played a nice cameo at Nagpur
. In addition, he also gets to play five one-dayers against South Africa.
Although it would be harsh on Dinesh Karthik, I think Dhoni must be given the opportunity to inflict further damage on Sri Lanka. Perhaps he could be rested for the last two games of the series, now that we know who is in contention for the next three games
and Dinesh Karthik given an opportunity to show if he can bat in one-dayers. Perhaps the two could be swapped in and out during the South Africa games as well. If anything, there could be evidence that Dhoni isn't cut out for tests and Karthik cannot play one-dayers.
After all, you will never know how good they are for the forms of the game that they don't play in unless they are given an opportunity to succeed or fail.